Free riders in law departments

Economists know well the problem of the so-called free-rider. These parasites also appear in law departments. For example, where a law department builds a knowledge management system, those lawyers who do not contribute but who benefit and borrow from others’ efforts, are free-riders. For departments that are trying to cut costs, the lawyers who are disciplined about managing outside counsel carry colleagues who do nothing, but who benefit at bonus time from the others’ cost saving. The do-nothings are free-riders. If a colleague takes on the chore of choosing a document management system everyone else is to some extent a free rider.

We might all have visions of free riders like Easy Riders, crashed and burned off the road.

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